A Leydig cell tumor is a tumor of the testicle. It develops from Leydig cells. These are the cells in the testicles that release the male hormone, testosterone.
Tumor - Leydig cell; Testicular tumor
The cause of this tumor is unknown. There are no known risk factors for getting this tumor. Unlike germ cell tumors of the testicles, this tumor does not seem to be linked to undescended testes.
Leydig cell tumors make up a very small number of all testicular tumors. They are most often found in men between the ages of 20 and 60. This tumor is not common in children before puberty, but it may cause early puberty.
There may be no symptoms.
When symptoms do occur, they can include:
Discomfort or pain in the testicle
Enlargement of a testicle or change in the way it feels
Excess development of breast tissue (gynecomastia) -- however, this can occur normally in adolescent boys who do not have testicular cancer
Heaviness in the scrotum
Lump or swelling in either testicle
Pain in the lower abdomen or back
Symptoms in other parts of the body, such as the lungs, abdomen, pelvis, back, or brain may also occur if the cancer has spread.
Exams and Tests
A physical examination typically reveals a firm lump in one of the testicles. When the health care provider holds a flashlight up to the scrotum, the light does not pass through the lump.
If you are of childbearing age, ask your doctor about methods to save your sperm for use at a later date.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of testicular cancer.
Performing testicular self-examination (TSE) each month may help detect testicular cancer at an early stage, before it spreads. Finding testicular cancer early is important to successful treatment and survival.
Friedlander TW, Ryan CJ, Small EJ, Torti F. Testicular cancer. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, et al., eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2013:chap 86.
National Cancer Institute: PDQ Testicular Cancer Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Date last modified 04/02/2014. Available at http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/testicular/HealthProfessional. Accessed May 29, 2014.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines): Testicular cancer. Version 1.2014. Available at http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/testicular.pdf. Accessed May 29, 2014.
Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.